Subject: Industry, History
111 First St.
Morgan City, LA 70380
(985) 384-3744 | General Information
(985) 384-3744 | Reservations
(985) 384-3047 | Fax
General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Office hours Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm, Saturday, 9:30am – 3:30pm; Tour times are 10:00am and 2:00pm; $5.00 Adults, $4.00 Seniors, $3.50 Students 5 – 12 years old
School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Monday – Saturday, Any time with advance reservations; $3.00 per person
- Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 8:1
- Advanced Time Needed to Make Reservations: One day
- Number of Students per Visit: Up to 100
- Length of Time for Visit: 90 minutes
- Handicapped Accessible: No
- Grade Level Appropriate: K – 12th
- Lunch Facilities: An on-site mess hall and the Drilling Rig Galley, with catering, are available. Fast food is nearby.
- Gift Shop: Yes
- Bus parking available
Tell Us About It!
The first offshore oil well, drilled in 1947, was off the coast of Morgan City, Louisiana. The oil field was no longer bound to land-based operations. Today, the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition, locally known as the Rig Museum, resides there. The historic prototype for transportable offshore drilling rigs, a submersible drilling barge fondly called “Mr. Charlie,” drilled its first well in 1954 for Shell Oil. The legendary drilling rig stands on the banks of the Atchafalaya River as the centerpiece of the Rig Museum. Mr. Charlie served the industry well, drilling almost continually until 1986. Today, Mr. Charlie is still a vital part of the industry. It is used to educate the public about the technology and history of the world’s largest industry. This is the place to see, hear, and feel the sensations of offshore life. According to museum personnel, it is “the only place in the world” where the general public can walk aboard an authentic offshore drilling rig.
What Can We See and Do There?
The Rig Museum teaches and preserves artifacts and information about the offshore petroleum industry. A visit aboard “Mr. Charlie,” a retired rig, gives visitors the chance to experience the real oilfield. The story students learn is from the viewpoint of the “riggers,” the men and women who work on oil rigs. The hardships, heroism, work, and the technology are told on the tour as it travels to all portions of the rig. There are plenty of hands-on opportunities aboard the drilling rig. Tour guides give demonstrations and invite students to touch and hold drill bits, barite, and other offshore equipment and supplies. If your visit is timed well, your students witness offshore rigger training, view active galley and living quarters, and watch offshore workers handle pipe, operate the crane, and ride the personnel basket. The active waterway is also part of the “exhibit.” The Rig Museum’s Visitor Center is in town on Front St. where additional history exhibits and a souvenir shop are located.
How Do We Get There?
From I-10, take LA 1 south to LA 70 south through Belle River to Morgan City. In Morgan City turn right on Fig St., then left on Sixth St. Take a right on Onstead St. and then turn left on Federal Ave. Cross the railroad tracks, go one block, and turn right on Barrow St. Travel three blocks and turn left on First St. then veer right and go over the levee. Veer right again. Parking for the museum is on the left just ahead.
From Hwy. 90 east take the Federal Ave exit. Turn right then turn left on Federal Ave. Cross the railroad tracks. Turn right on Barrow St. Travel three blocks and turn left on First St. then veer right and go over the levee. Veer right again. Parking for the museum is on the left just ahead.
Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?
Tour guides shorten the outside portion of the tour and lengthen the inside portion of the tour.
Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
- K-4th grades: SI-E-A1, 7; SE-E-A3, 5; G-1A-E1-3; G-1B-E1, 3-4; E-1B-E5; H-1C-E1
- 5th-8th grades: SI-M-A1, 8; SE-M-A3-4, 6-8; G-1A-M1, 3-4; G-1D-M2-4; E-1A-M1-3, 9; E-1B-M7; H-1D-M4-5
- 9th-12th grades: SI-H-A1; SE-H-A1, 3-6; SE-H- B1-6; SE-H-C1-5; SE-H-D3-6; G-1A-H1-2; G-1C-H1, 5; E-1A-H1-2; E-1B-H6
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?
Teachers can call or write for copies of an informative booklet about oil and gas production and environmental protection in the Gulf of Mexico called, The Living Gulf: A Place to Treasure and other museum literature including historical and technological background of Louisiana’s oil industry.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H Out Your Field Trip Benefits
Teachers can call or write for a copy of the 30- minute video, The Promise and the Reward: Fifty Years Offshore. Ask for a copy of the booklet, Mr. Charlie, that has drawings of all the levels of the rig. Check out this site’s website for even more background information and a pictorial history of the Cajun Coast’s industrial history.
Louisiana’s natural resources, Gulf of Mexico, history of and current methods of oil and gas drilling and production, industrial technology, transportation, industrial job training, environmental protection